Food retailing is called a penny-profit business, but for the fourth year running the industry, in the aggregate, has done a little better than that. According to the Food Marketing Institute's "FMI 1997-98 Annual Financial Review," the industry chalked up profits of 1.22% for the 1997-98 period, a bit above the previous record set in 1995-96 of 1.20%. Here's how other recent years weighed in: 1993-94 was at 0.93%; 1994-95 at 1.14%; and 1996-97, 1.08%. It's interesting to see, with an eye ...

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